Bok choy, also called Chinese white cabbage or pak choi, is a mainstay of Chinese cuisine. But it works well with many other seasonings, because both the stalks and the leaves are mild. Choose full-size or baby bok choy with bright green leaves and no wilting or yellow spots. Refrigerate it in an airtight container, and use it within four days in stir-fry or solo. Avoid overcooking bok choy or it will become bitter.
For a Chinese stir-fry, pair bok choy with chicken, pork or tofu, and season it with minced garlic, fresh grated ginger, a dash of rice wine and a teaspoon of honey. Cooked on its own as a braised, vegetable side dish, Chinese seasonings might include a drizzle of oyster sauce, soy sauce, red pepper flakes or sesame oil and a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds.
Everything's Better With Butter and Cheese
Salt, pepper and a pat of butter give steamed bok choy all it needs for a simple but flavorful side dish -- the light seasonings don't overpower bok choy's mild flavor. If you want to dress up the dish, turn it into a gratin by seasoning it with a little nutmeg, sprinkling a handful of grated Parmesan or Swiss cheese over the top and placing it under the broiler until the cheese bubbles and browns.
Seasoning With Herbs
You don't need to limit yourself to Asian seasonings for bok choy. Give braised, blanched or stir-fried side dishes a French twist by seasoning with butter, salt, pepper, rosemary and tarragon. Or drizzle cooked bok choy with rice or balsamic vinegar, dry sherry or lemon juice. For extra flavor, sprinkle a small amount of coriander, bacon bits or small bits of sun-dried tomatoes over the finished dish.
Bold Seasonings for Cool Bok Choy
You can season bok choy served at room temperature or as a salad in many of the same ways you would any salad or warm vegetable dish. A vinaigrette with lemon juice and Dijon mustard would work, as would Thai-inspired seasonings such as Thai chili strands, sliced fresh mint and basil, toasted sesame seeds and rice or white wine vinegar. Miso paste added to a salad dressing adds a Japanese or Chinese flavor.
- The Deluxe Food Lover's Companion; Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst
- Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini; Elizabeth Schneider
- Fruit & Veggies More Matters: Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Bok Choy
- The Flavor Bible; Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg
- Photo Credit Spike Mafford/Photodisc/Getty Images